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Government petitions court for removal of wilderness cabins near Dawson

Simon Tourigny and others have occupied the area for years; government repeatedly objects
The law courts in downtown Whitehorse. (File Photo)

The Yukon government is heading to court in an effort to evict cabin-dwelling residents from a remote area south of Dawson City.

A March 2 legal petition launched by the government names Simon Tourigny and “persons unknown” as respondents. It is seeking court orders requiring Tourigny and any others living at a site on the east shore of the Yukon River about 25 kilometres from Dawson to vacate it immediately. The government wants them ordered to take structures and other possessions with them or to show cause why they shouldn’t have to within 30 days.

The government is seeking a court order prohibiting Tourigny from returning to the site or occupying any other territorial lands without lawful authority. The government also wants it ordered that he reclaim the site to its original condition before leaving and that the order to vacate apply to anyone else who may occupy the structures until they are removed.

Documents filed by the Yukon government state that Tourigny built a cabin and other structures at the site. He had staked placer mining claims in the area in 2014 and 2016 but allowed them to lapse. There are two other cabins within 850 metres of Tourigny’s.

In their petition, the government claims he staked the claims with the intent of creating a permanent residence and not to mine the area.

The petition states Tourigny was notified the construction of the cabin was unlawful and he had to move it on at least nine occasions between 2015 and the filing of the petition.

It goes on to say Tourigny has acknowledged he has no legal authority to occupy the site while encouraging others to live at the site.

Tourigny offered his views as government pressure surrounding the cabin increased in a late 2021 letter to the News.

“So where do they want us to live? They don’t seem to understand that we like it here, and we don’t want to move. Are they telling us we have to take down our cabins and move into a tent? Because we will if we’re forced to. Which part of what we are doing is ‘unauthorized’? Our cabins or our lifestyles? They won’t say, either because they don’t know or because the truth cannot be admitted,” he wrote.

The letter described Tourigny and others waiting inside the cabin as RCMP and natural resource officers visited the site in September 2021. He wrote that he and other occupants ignored their demands to come outside and eventually the officers left.

“We don’t know when they will return or under what orders. We are waiting to be arrested and forcibly taken to court to be put before a judge, the last person in a long line of people refusing to listen to us where fines or imprisonment await.”

Contact Jim Elliot at

Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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